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Sweet Sorrow: Love, Loss & Attachment in Human Life
Alan B. Eppel
Routledge (London: Karnac Books) / Softcover / 2009-06-01 / 1855756455
Attachment / Psychoanalysis
reg price: $49.50 our price: $ 47.03
164 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

This book defines the centrality of love and loss in human life and in human meaning. Bowlby's Attachment theory forms the basis for understanding our selves and our relationships. Alan Eppel proposes that love is the subjective experience of attachment and that dyadic relationships are the source of ultimate meaning. He supports his theses with a tour de force integration of ideas from attachment theory, psychoanalysis, neuroscience and existential philosophy.

This book will appeal to sophisticated lay readers in addition to various categories of student and professional audiences. It will be of interest to psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, philosophers, neuroscientists and sociologists. Readers with a background mainly in the arts and humanities will find it appealing because of its linkages and use of poetry, song and visual art to elucidate and illustrate the major propositions of the book.

More generally, anyone with a curiosity about love and loss will find this book attractive. It provides insight and illumination to many of the human circumstances that people encounter in their day to day lives.

All of us seek to understand the meaning of life, and especially the meaning of our own lives. In "Sweet Sorrow" Alan Eppel provides us with a far reaching analysis of these questions. Eppel, a psychiatrist at Canada's renowned McMaster University medical school, draws on over thirty years of clinical and academic experience.

The quality of attachment between mother and infant lays the foundation for the formation of individual identity and ultimately shapes our capacity to engage in relationships with others. Eppel describes loss as the reciprocal of attachment and considers the enormous influence of loss on our moods, sense of identity, and our desire to live or die.

The final segments of the book describe the implications of this analysis and links it to the meaning and purpose of human life.


'This stimulating book weaves together coherently many different strands to illuminate one of the most fundamental of human themes in an original way. Material from clinical psychiatry and psychoanalysis, literature, art, music, biology and neuroscience is presented clearly, without the obscure language such subjects may provoke, and discussed in the context of a set of eleven core propositions. The book will be accessible and interesting to a wide readership both within and outside the above disciplines, bringing together otherwise scattered information as well as provocative ideas. In addition, case vignettes add meaning on a more personal level.'
- Dr David Abrahamson MBE, FRCPsych, FRCPI, Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London

'Gathering inspiration and insights from artists, philosophers, neuroscientists, and psychoanalysts, Alan Eppel has enriched and deepened our understanding of love and loss of love in a most engaging way . Dr. Eppel has crafted an intellectual delight.'
- Orli Peter, Ph.D, Clinical Neuropsychologist Diplomate, Founder and Director, Center for Accelerated Psychology, California

A Selection from the Contents:

Love and loss at the centre of human life.
Attachment: biology; neurobiology.
The Nature of Love: psychoanalytic views
Psychiatric disorders and love and loss.
Loss as the reciprocal of attachment
Meaning of time as a prelude to meaning.
A love connection.

About the Author:

Alan Eppel has been a practicing psychiatrist over the past thirty years and currently is director of Community Psychiatric Services at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario; he is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. The author was president of the Ontario Psychiatric Association in 1999 and co-author of "Parners in Healing". He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.

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